Speculation Abounds On Freedom’s Future

By: Joe Strupp

Alan J. Bell, the newly installed CEO of Freedom Communications Inc., said his background in TV operations should not be viewed as a sign that Freedom plans to focus more on its TV properties or that the company — owner of 28 daily newspapers and eight TV stations — may be planning to sell its broadcast outlets.

“You can make arguments both ways,” Bell told E&P days after his appointment last month. “There is no particular inclination to sell a particular asset, or any asset.”

Speculation about Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom has swirled since July as its 80-plus family shareholders tussle over the company’s future. Recently, 23 fourth-generation members of the Hoiles family offered to buy out their older relatives.

The company has been valued as high as $2.5 billion.

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